Marsh & McLennan Advantage Insights logo
Conversations and insights from the edge of global business
Menu Search

Quick Takes

Hotel, Food Workers Hardest Hit by COVID Crisis

Source: Urban Institute

As many as 22 million Americans are out of work due to the coronavirus crisis, with the accommodation and food services industries suffering the most job losses, according to figures from the Urban Institute.

The data, which is updated monthly to keep track of the rapidly changing labor market, is an estimate based on Washington State and New York State data. The two states publish weekly unemployment numbers by industry. The purpose of this map is to help nonprofits, foundations and governmental officials to identify where support is needed most.

Predictably so, the majority of job losses are in metropolitan areas, such as New York City, Los Angeles and Boston. However, the map also shows there are extreme job losses in states like Georgia and Kentucky — both of which are starting to relax restrictions on nonessential businesses in an effort to revive their economies.

The Standard of Living Is Plummeting in Lebanon

Source: Gallup

A record number of Lebanese are having a difficult time getting by with their household income. Over 70% of Lebanese agreed that they were financially struggling, while only 24% were living comfortably last year.

The Lebanese pound lost more than 90% of its worth since the country’s October 2019 economic crisis, and it continues to worsen due to skyrocketing prices for food, medicine, fuel and other basic goods. The number of Lebanese living with food insecurity tripled between 2019 and 2020. Before 2019, 57% of the Lebanese population were satisfied with their standard of living; now, Gallup says, the percentage is less than half of that.

Lebanon’s financial state, governmental instability and corruption has led to widespread social unrest and supply shortages. A record 87% of the public say that their economic status will only get worse in the future. The international community has given Lebanon humanitarian aid, but warned that without a functioning government, it will be more difficult to create long-term structural reforms.

Is Delta Impacting Americans’ Desire to Get Vaccinated?

Source: YouGov, Yahoo News/YouGov poll, July 13-15, 2021

Americans who are worried about the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus report that they would get a booster shot at a higher rate (70%) than those who are less worried or not at all worried (42%). 

For each group of respondents above, about a quarter report being unsure of their decision to get a booster shot, reflecting some of the public’s continued lack of confidence in the vaccine’s safety or necessity. Fifty-five percent of those who are unvaccinated report that FDA approval of the vaccine would not change their mind about opting out of vaccination, and 73% say that Delta has no impact on their decision, either. 

“Public-health authorities have not recommended third ’booster’ vaccine shots yet,” says YouGov. However, some countries are already offering them, which has been a controversial decision, as many people still have yet to receive their first dose of the vaccine. “Pfizer says it will seek emergency use authorization from the FDA for a booster next month.”

A Healthy Diet Is Out of Reach for 3 Billion People

Source: Food Prices for Nutrition project, Tufts University; Map: The Conversation

Three billion people couldn’t afford to purchase the cheapest healthy foods before the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest available data from 2017 shows that around 40% of the global population resorts to poor-quality diets due to high food prices and low incomes.

Many healthy foods are consistently more expensive than starchy products, oil and sugar. Most of the world’s poorest countries — like in Africa and South Asia — cannot afford ingredients for healthy meals even if they spend their entire income on food. Meanwhile, the 60% of the global population that can  afford these healthy ingredients don’t always choose to — either because they want to avoid longer cooking times, or they are drawn to unhealthy foods through advertising and marketing tactics.

Global food prices reached a 10-year high during the pandemic, but prices started to decline in June — still 25% more expensive than the 2014-2016 average. Governments and NGOs are working to make food more accessible through technological advancements in agriculture, safety net and educational programs and more higher-paying jobs. 

Most Countries Doubt Future Generations’ Earning Potential

Source: Pew Research Center

Majority of the public in 17 countries surveyed believe that their children will be in a worse financial situation than their generation. A median 32% of those surveyed by Pew Research Center disagree. 

Respondents who have a poorer view of how the pandemic was handled by their government, or who had their own life affected by COVID-19, are more likely to have a negative view on their children’s future. France and Japan have the highest percentages of those who believe their children will be financially worse off at 77%, while the public in Singapore and Sweden are more positive about their kids’ prospects. 

A 2020 study found that the loss of early childhood development could majorly damage income potential and productivity over the younger generation’s lifetime. Education-related funding is predicted to increase this year as schools ensure that sanitary supplies are present to properly enforce in-person, COVID-safety standards and eliminate further school closures.

Get ahead in a rapidly changing world. Sign up for our daily newsletter. Subscribe